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Anaboilic and Corticosteroids

Updated on June 22, 2011
An Obvious Exaggeration
An Obvious Exaggeration

A Misunderstood Term

The term steroid is often misunderstood. Corticosteroids are drugs used to treat arthritis and many other conditions and often just called "steroids".Corticosteroids are powerful drugs which can quickly reduce swelling and inflammation.Therefore, they are often confused with anabolic steroids, used by athletes to boost strength and enhance physical performance.

Anabolic steroids were developed in the late 1930s primarily to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which testes don’t produce sufficient testosterone. Today, their primary medical uses are in treating delayed puberty, impotence, and damage caused by HIV infection or other diseases.

Scientists also discovered anabolic steroids could enhance growth of skeletal muscle in laboratory animals. This led to abuse by bodybuilders, weightlifters and other athletes. They can be taken orally, injected or applied on the skin as a cream or gel. People who inject steroids also run the risk of contracting hepatitis or HIV.

Natural Steroids

Steroids found naturally in the body help keep it functioning normally. They are also necessary in the body's reproductive system and the structure and function of membranes.

What exactly are Anabolic Steroids? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they “…are synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones. They promote growth of skeletal muscle and development of male sexual characteristics.”

So, it’s easy to understand why athletes and others might use them illegally to enhance performance or improve physical appearance. However, this can cause serious health problems such as liver tumors, cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure, kidney tumors and severe acne. Anabolic steroids are available only by prescription.

Some side effects in malescan include shrinking of the testicles and breast development. Females, may experience growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and deepened voice.For both sexes, abusing these drugs can cause death.

Adverse Side Effects

Anabolic steroid abuse has also been linked to a wide range of other adverse side effects including, heart attacks, elevated cholesterol level, aggression and withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. These withdrawal symptoms can include mood swings and fatigue as well as restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and severe depression.

In addition, steroid use by adolescents may prematurely stop the lengthening of bones resulting in stunted growth. Some effects are reversible if the abuser stops taking the drug, but not all.

One of the most common sources for obtaining illegal steroids is Internet purchases. They are smuggled into the U.S. from other countries such as Mexico and European countries which don’t require a prescription making it easier to smuggle. In addition to this, steroids are also illegally diverted from U.S. pharmacies or synthesized in secret laboratories.

Anabolic steroids are known by various other names on the street. For example, Arnolds, Juice, Pumpers and Stackers are common terms used.

The International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association and many other professional sports leagues have banned the use of steroids by athletes because of their potentially harmful side effects in addition to giving their users an unfair advantage.

The drugs were initially desired for their protein-building properties, but frankly, their use by physicians has been quite limited. Anabolic steroid use is more frequently linked with bodybuilders, weightlifters and other athletes.

Anabolic steroids are used because of their ability to improve performance by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat, so their use depends on the type of sport undertaken. Anabolic steroid use has been widespread in competitive bodybuilding. Steroid use in sports is banned in most countries and international athletes are tested for illegal use. Anabolic steroids are used, especially by men, to enhance body characteristics towards a more muscular physique.

However, there are other reasons, not so obvious why people abuse these drugs.Of course the main reason people gave for abusing steroids was to improve performance in sports. But research disclosed some athletes had a behavioral syndrome called muscle dysmorphia. This is a condition in which a person has a distorted image of their body.

Large, muscular men having this condition believe they look small and weak. Likewise, women think they look fat and flabby, even if they are actually lean and muscular.

The studies also discovered some people who abuse steroids to boost muscle size have experienced physical or sexual abuse. So, basically as a defense mechanism, they are trying to increase their muscle size to protect themselves. In interviews with male weightlifters, 25 percent of steroid abusers reported childhood physical or sexual abuse…compared with none who did not.

With women weightlifters, twice as many of those who had been raped reported using steroids compared to those who had not been raped. They believed that being bigger and stronger would discourage further attacks.

Furthermore, some adolescents abuse steroids in 
high-risk behavior such as drinking and driving, carrying a gun, not wearing a motorcycle helmet and abusing other illicit drugs.

While conditions such as muscle dysmorphia, history of physical or sexual abuse, or a history of engaging in high-risk behaviors may be a reason some start abusing steroids, researchers generally agree most are psychologically normal when they start.

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    • profile image

      jude anne 

      6 years ago

      I WAS BORN ADDICTED TO CORTICOSTEROIDS BECAUSE MY MOM HAD MONO WHILE PREGNANT WITH ME. I NOW HAVE HYPOTHYROIDISM AND CUSHING'S. THIS RUINED ME AND I HAVE LEARINGI DISABILITIES, WAS BULLIED MOST OF MY LIFE, AND RUINED MY PLAYING WATER POLO AND HOCKEY. THESE ATHLETES WHO ARE FOOLISH ENOUGH TO TAKE STEROIDS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE GETTING THEMSELVES INTO MY ABOVE COMMENT WAS OUT OF TOUGH LOVE..THERE IS NO NEED FOR THEM TO TAKE STEROIDS...THAT IS NOT MAKING THEM A BETTER ATHLETE..THAT IS MAKING THEM SICK AND SICKER. I CERTAINLY DO NOT WANT THAT FOR ANY ATHLETE OR FOR ANYONE.

    • profile image

      jude anne 

      6 years ago

      WHY WOULD YOU PUNISH THESE ATHLETES WHO TAKE STEROIDS..I WOULDN'T..IT IS NOT THE STEROIDS MAKING THEM BETTER PLAYERS, IT IS THEIR TALENT AND HARD WORK. IF THEY ARE THAT INCREDIBLY STUPID TO TAKE STEROIDS..THEY WILL END UP PAYING THE PRICE ANYWAYS IN THE LONG RUN BY ENDING UP WITH DISEASES AND SYNDROMES LIKE CUSHING'S OR RELATED DISEASES..

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      You are very welcome

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 

      7 years ago from Oregon

      I love the informative and artistic nature of your hub. That's some picture! This was very informative. Thank you for explaining the difference between these very different types of steroids.

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